Meet the Masters of Ma
We hope everyone has enjoyed a healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, enjoying new twists on favorite traditions for a memorable day. We have much to be thankful for, notably our health and the creativity of our members who continue to find new ways to share our love of taiko with each other and our audiences.
Until recently, our studio has been active with small groups of members practicing together while we can't meet as a full group. Theresa, Jeremy, Eddie, and Jason comprise one of our mini-groups, the Masters of Ma. The name is a humorous take on the Japanese term ma, the concept of space between notes in music. While it implies the members are really good at not playing anything, in reality ma is just as important as the notes that are played in a song.
Taking a spontaneous approach, the members have seen quite a variety in their practices, sometimes focusing on the fundamentals of form and presence, and other times attempting technically challenging pieces like JuugoYa (pictured above) and Drive.
The Masters of Ma have also been responsible for creating new arrangements of favorite songs, such as the popular song Tobihi, by Joe Kimura and Hiroshi Tanaka. Normally played by two dueling sides, the piece was modified so each person plays multiple drums, an idea that originated while Eddie was playing with a small taiko group during his time living in Singapore. This arrangement allowed the song to be performed with as few as two players. The Masters of Ma then modified this arrangement by adding a third drummer in the center to play both parts of the dueling sides. The new arrangement was dubbed "Tribihi
" and after a lot of on-the-fly experimentation, the final version was recorded for our watch parties, streamed earlier this fall. If you missed the watch party, you can still check it out here
With the recent surge in coronavirus cases in St. Louis and surrounding counties, we've decided to pause our in-person practices once again. We are thankful that our members and families remain healthy, and we hope for the health and safety of those in need as the region struggles to recover. We hope our break from the studio will be short, and when we return the Masters of Ma and our other mini-groups will be able to bring more taiko to our fans again.